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Stay up-to-date on the latest news and events happening with Cape Town City Ballet

OUR LATEST NEWS

Stay up-to-date on the latest news and events happening with Cape Town City Ballet

NOVEMBER 2021

2 November - Boys will be boys: The alchemy of an all-male ballet

Read the Daily Maverick interview with Julian Moss and Cape Town City Ballet dancers by journalist Keith Bain, who caught a rehearsal of Troy Game ahead of its opening on 6 November.

Works by three acclaimed male choreographers have been assembled for Cape Town City Ballet’s new programme, Alchemy – Three Dances. Among them is Troy Game, a beloved contemporary classic choreographed by Robert North in 1974 and being staged with South African dancers by Julian Moss.

Palpitations. My heart thudding in my chest as I witness eight exquisite dancers whose fine-tuned bodies twist and weave, thrust and twirl, jump, fall, fly, and – I later discover – ache.

My own body, meanwhile, is rocking rhythmically to a furious drum beat, a Brazilian-flavoured score belted out through the speakers, filling the vast white-box studio with surging energy. What’s unfolding is exhilarating. Not only because it hints at the return to stages of physical performance after a long pause, but because of the dancers’ robustness and vigour, their almost shocking immersion in the moment.

CTCB in rehearsal for Troy Game. Image: Danie Coetzee

They are playing at being jocks, putting on macho postures – strutting, preening, cock-walking, play-fighting. They are soldiers readying themselves for battle, boxers challenging one another to a bout. Or maybe they’re boys pretending to be warriors, teasing and bullying, enacting butch stereotypes.

And then – suddenly – the martial gestures evolve into graceful dance movements, steely rigidity giving way to gyrating hips and wild-flailing arms. It’s a ceaseless back-and-forth between manly display and balletic grace.

There are no massive muscles, no bulging biceps nor beefy necks, none of the giveaway signs you’d associate with gym boytjies. Instead, the dancers are in their tights and short shorts, loose T-shirts hanging over pert butts, ballet shoes smoothing the tips of flawlessly toned legs.

CTCB in rehearsal for Troy Game. Image: Danie Coetzee

These lower appendages, though, are like steel coated in porcelain, thighs and quadriceps rippled with evidence of years of training, calves shaped by relentless classes, bodies stretched and toned, supple and pliable thanks to regimented rehearsals. So much talent crammed into each individual body, such poise and discipline… And then a twinkle in an eye, and mocking laughter as the seriousness of athletic solos and group combat transitions into overt goofiness. They’re not so much fighting as poking fun at the entire project of hyper-masculinity, executing a montage of moving friezes, their pace alternating between high-energy action and trancelike slow-motion. One instant I’m seeing propulsive gymnastics, the next they are human sculptures.

The studio is in a tucked-away part of Rondebosch, at the HQ of Cape Town City Ballet, where the all-male cast is being put through its paces in preparation for the opening of Troy Game, a 25-minute contemporary classic by the legendary British choreographer Robert North, ballet director of Germany’s Theater Krefeld und Mönchengladbach and creator of more than 90 ballets.

Julian Moss in rehearsal with CTCB for Troy Game. Image: Danie Coetzee


CTCB in rehearsal for Troy Game. Image: Danie Coetzee


Julian Moss in rehearsal with CTCB for Troy Game. Image: Danie Coetzee

Inspired as much by the war games of ancient Greece as by such martial arts as aikido and capoeira, Troy Game has been hailed as much for the purity of the dancing as it has for its inventiveness and its wit. While it brims with testosterone-fuelled sexiness, it dares to laugh at macho stereotypes. Having been performed countless times around the world, it remains a perennial crowd-pleaser, not because it is simple, but because it demands everything of the performers.

Among dancers, it’s known for the degree of punishment meted out. It is 25 minutes of proverbial jumping; watching some sequences you can’t help but hold your breath in anticipation of someone cramping up, breaking a toe, falling hard, colliding, maybe collapsing. Their commitment is astonishing, though, the intensity almost surreal, their endurance fuelled by that energising, almost primordial music.

Also driving them – hard – is Essex-born-and-raised Julian Moss, himself a veteran of Troy Game who has danced it “hundreds of times” and has, since 1988, been assisting North by setting the piece with different dance companies around the world. In the early 1990s, he was in South Africa to stage it with a Durban dance company; Cape Town is his third staging of the work this year – the previous two were in Poland and in Kosovo. “I’ve never taken it anywhere where people don’t like it,” he says. “Audiences love it.”

And while he’s lost count of the number of times he’s staged it, Moss says it never gets old. “Firstly, it’s the music,” he says. “I think if you tire of music like that, there’s something wrong with your soul.”

The work is also close to Moss’s heart; he says it’s what triggered his desire to be a dancer.

“Even if it’s two steps forward and one step back, if you have five dancers in a row all doing it together, they’ll each have their own special way of doing it – a personal way of interpreting it, a unique way of being seen.”

“Before seeing it, I never wanted to be a dancer. I wanted to be an actor. At drama school, I had to do dance classes. In 1975, when I was 15, my dance teacher drove us 20 miles to a nearby town where the London Contemporary Dance Theatre was performing Troy Game. I thought it was amazing. I don’t know what shifted in me, but it was just like all the fragments which were disassembled came together – like having an internal blindfold taken off. The penny just dropped.”

Another thing that keeps the piece fresh for Moss is that every company he works with is of course composed of different dancers, each with their own uniquenesses. “Although all the steps remain the same, the way they’re done is automatically different because they are eight unique individuals. Even if it’s two steps forward and one step back, if you have five dancers in a row all doing it together, they’ll each have their own special way of doing it – a personal way of interpreting it, a unique way of being seen. That’s really what keeps me fed.”

He says that within the Cape Town company those degrees of individuality are somehow enhanced. “Within many ballet companies, because of the nature of the art form, there’s more parity between each individual dancer. What’s interesting here is that there’s much more disparity between each of the dancers – so each of their individual characteristics are heightened. Because of the nature of this company – with dancers coming from all kinds of different backgrounds, and having diverse roots – those differences seem to be exacerbated. I like that. It gives me – as a stager of Robert North’s work – more to play with.”

Troy Game is itself a celebration of diversity, a coming together of disparate styles and influences. Moss explains that what adds to the complexity of the piece is it’s interweaving of multiple dance styles, something that’s explained by North’s own eclectic dance background: He was trained at London’s Royal Ballet School, danced with Martha Graham, and also worked with the American Jazz dancer Matt Mattox.

CTCB in rehearsal for Troy Game. Image: Danie Coetzee

The impetus for Troy Game came from music that North discovered while on a tour in Brazil. He brought a couple of vinyl LPs back to London and began creating a work based on that. Apart from his mixed artistic influences, he was also studying aikido, and had seen capoeira in Brazil. “He created the work in the breaks during other rehearsals,” Moss says. “He’d grab a dancer and say, ‘Can we quickly work on this…?’ And then one day it was all assembled.”

Apart from pulling together various strands of dance technique and style, he also wanted to use the piece to make fun of guys being guys. “It’s poking fun at jocks and studs doing their manly stuff,” says Moss. “While it’s not necessarily about anything, it’s really about several things. It’s also sort of ancient and ceremonial. And – for want of a better word – tribal, too. It has that deep ethnic honesty about it.”

Thami Njoko in Troy Game. Image: Helena Fagan.

And then there’s also the challenge of jumping for 25 minutes. And the athleticism and discipline required to cope with that kind of exertion.

It may look like fun and games. And it is thrillingly upbeat and sexy, a joyous celebration of life. Yet its execution is brutal, demanding stamina, endurance, and – evidently – a high tolerance for pain.

“It’s hard to call out any one part as most challenging, but there’s one point – the climax at the very end – where the legs just don’t want to play anymore. It builds and builds and then there’s a section where they’re dropping down to their knees, and then leaning and coming forwards, all eight of them, and it’s so brutal that we used to call that the mother… Well, when you see it, you can imagine what kind of a mother it is… Because it really used to hurt like a mother…”

After the rehearsal, I ask some of the men who’ve been dancing like their lives depend on it to talk me through what it feels like.

“Oh, no, no, no, no, no… I just don’t even think about it,” says Cape Town-born and raised Elvis Nonjeke, who, despite registering the agony, can’t stop smiling. “From the ‘mother’ onwards you’re just living on hopes and dreams – hoping that your legs will bring you back up when you go down. But if I think about an ache, that’s where my focus will go, and I’ll start messing up because the pain will take over.”

“My legs start to get fatigued quite early in the piece,” says Quinton Jacobs, a former gymnast who hails from Swakopmund. “From there on it’s a mental battle to not think about the pain. By the time my last entrance happens, my legs are essentially dead; they’re absolutely shot. But you have to push through. I’m Afrikaans, so I keep telling myself, ‘Hou, bene! Hou!’ [Stay, legs! Stay!]”

“I think the perception is that when you go to the ballet, you’re going to see a bunch of women on stage running on their toes,” says Jordan Roelfze, who has been with the company for six years. “Troy Game is great because it demonstrates the kind of strength demanded from dancers. And it showcases what the men have to contribute. That we are of value in ballet.”

As much as male dancers can have considerable physical strength, Roelfze says it’s “a mental game” getting through a ballet like this. “You can’t worry about what’s aching and what’s uncomfortable. There’s an audience watching and they haven’t paid to see you in pain. They’ve paid to see you deliver. That’s the professional side of being a dancer.”

Moss says he knows all too well the heavy burden the piece places on the dancers. “It pushes them, it hurts them, and I know that in order to get the piece out, I have to push them to the point where it’s almost inhuman. A way of making that easier is to make them giggle every so often, to have a bit of a laugh, and not be obsessed. Because it is very easy to be obsessed with hurting knees and sore ankles.”

“Dance leaves you nothing – no manuscript, no photographs. But what it does give you is one intense, fleeting moment in which you are truly alive.”

Ultimately, though, Moss believes there is something innately joyful about being able to dance to this level that somehow makes the pain disappear. “There’s an enormous sense of satisfaction if you can get through a run of what is quite honestly a bitch of a piece. And if the dancers feel good about what they’re doing, it’s amazing how all the physical niggles dissipate.”

Moss says he witnesses human bodies being put through hell during almost every rehearsal – and in every performance. “During the run-through, I heard one of the boys slap his back hard on the floor. He went off in pain but then had a broad smile on his face for the rest of the run. Afterwards, I asked if he was okay, and he said, ‘It’s just so fantastic to be dancing’.”

Moss believes this kind of resilience to the pain is built up from the joy that dancing gives the dancers in return for their hard labour – their sweat, tears, and sometimes blood. He explains the level of pain-flattening exhilaration in terms of something that the great American choreographer, Merce Cunningham, once said. “He said that dance leaves you nothing – no manuscript, no photographs. But what it does give you is one intense, fleeting moment in which you are truly alive. I think there’s something so beautiful and poetic and honest about that. That’s how I feel when I jump around in a studio. It’s a fleeting sensation. You may have it for a tenth of a second when you move a certain way. But – oh, my god – it feels otherworldly. So for these dancers, coming back to the studio after the long hiatus imposed by the pandemic, is like a rebirth. Which sounds really naff. But this is what we do.” DM/ML

Cape Town City Ballet this month pays tribute to distinguished male choreographers with a programme of three distinctive 20th-century dance pieces. Alongside Robert North’s Troy Game, there’s George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco danced to JS Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins”, and Jiří Kylián’s Falling Angels, which was first presented in 1989 by the Nederlands Dans Theater. Alchemy – Three Dances is showing at the Artscape Opera House from 6 to 13 November.

OCTOBER 2021

18 October - Cape Town City Ballet leaps into Spring with a vibrant new programme

ALCHEMY – THREE DANCES honours three of the world’s most celebrated male choreographers, and includes the South African premiere of Robert North’s internationally acclaimed TROY GAME, as well as George Balanchine’s exquisite CONCERTO BAROCCO and Jiří Kylián’s arresting FALLING ANGELS.  This presentation marks the first time a Kylián work has been staged on a South African company. 

The season will be presented at the Artscape Opera House from 6 until 13 November. 

Bookings are through Computicket and Artscape Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695. 

Although capacity has been increased with the introduction of Level One, seating in the Artscape Opera House will still be strictly limited due to social distancing and government regulations. All COVID-19 regulations will be in place including social distancing and wearing of masks throughout. 

The dancers of Cape Town City Ballet illustrate their prowess and stylistic diversity in these three very different works choreographed by these ballet giants,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet. “With the lyrical beauty of Concerto Barocco, the arresting power of Falling Angels and the delicious humour of Troy Game, we have strived to compile a programme that will lift your spirits for the start of a new season and time. 

Balanchine’s neo-classical Concerto Barocco is danced to J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, the instruments personified by the two leading ladies of the cast and an ensemble of eight female dancers. A beautiful pas de deux forms the focus of the second movement. Concerto Barocco is performed by permission of the ©The George Balanchine Trust. 

Kylián’s Falling Angels is an all-women work created to an hypnotic Steve Reich score and inspired by the percussive musical rituals of West Africa. The energetic and tumultuous choreography becomes riveting as the dancers plunge into the vortex of the score.   It will be staged by Elke Schepers who sets a variety of Jiří Kylián’s works all over the world. Costume Design is by Joke Visser with Lighting Design by Jiří Kylián (concept) and Joop Caboort (realization). 

Falling Angels  was first presented in 1989 by Nederlands Dans Theater. Kylián comments about the piece: “Choreographically, this piece is a study of the two most opposing properties of any art work: discipline and freedom.  It is a symbol of a strife between belonging and independence, a dilemma, which accompanies all of us from cradle to grave.” 

Troy Game is Robert North’s witty and engaging all-male work set to a Brazilian-flavoured score by Jon Kelietio and Bob Downes, it is a suite of athletic solos and intricately constructed moving friezes inspired by Ancient Greek war games and martial arts. Costume Design for Troy Game is by Peter Farmer. Lighting Design is after original design by Charter.

 ‘a funny and sexy romp…. an innovative blend of acting and movement that looks like the purest of pure dance pieces’ (The New York Times). 

Robert North is director at the Krefeld/Mönchengladbach Ballet company. His illustrious career has seen him as Artistic Director of Ballet Rambert; co- Artistic Director of London Contemporary Dance Theatre; Artistic Director positions at the Italian Teatro Regio in Torino, of the Gothenburg Ballet, of the Corpo di Ballo Dell’Arena di Verona in Italy and of the Scottish Ballet. 

In addition to TROY GAME, Robert has created over 90 ballets and has choreographed for more than 95 different companies throughout the world including: the Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Scottish Ballet, English National Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, New Zealand Ballet, Rome Opera, Baletto di Toscana and Royal Danish Ballet.  His numerous awards include the Positano Prize for best choreographer in Italy, and a Prize in Regio Emelia, Italy for the most outstanding choreographer of a children’s ballet with The Snowman. North was also awarded the Vignale Prize for his contribution to dance in Italy. 

Jiří Kylián made his debut as a choreographer with Stuttgart Ballet and went on to create three ballets for Nederlands Dans Theater, before becoming artistic director of the company in 1975, and putting the Company on the international map with Sinfonietta. With Carel Birnie, he established a bridging programme between school and professional company life with Nederlands Dans Theater II, and also Nederlands Dans Theater III, a company for older dancers, above the age of forty. This extraordinary three-dimensional structure was unique in the world of dance. 

Among the more than 100 works that Jiří Kylián has created, he has worked with companies such as the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsoper Münich, Swedish television and the Tokyo Ballet. He has worked on various films and served as Mentor in Dance in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. 

Kylián’s extensive list of international awards include: “Officer of the Orange Order”- Netherlands; “Honorary Doctorate” – Julliard School New York; three “Nijinsky Awards” – Monte Carlo; “Benoit de la Dance” – Moscow and Berlin;  “Honorary Medal” of the President of the Czech Republic; “Commander of the Legion d’honneur” France, and in 2008 he was distinguished with one of the highest royal honours, the Medal of the Order for Arts and Science of the House of Orange given to him by Her Majesty the Queen Beatrix from the Netherlands. Kylián received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of dance and theater by the Czech Ministry of Culture in Prague.  

Established as the Nico Malan Theatre in 1971, the Artscape building this year marks its 50th anniversary in existence. 

ALCHEMY – THREE DANCES – will be presented from 6 until 13 November. Performances are on 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 November at 19h30, with a matinee on Saturday 13 November at 15h00. 

Tickets cost from R195 – R350.   

Bookings can be made at Artscape Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket. 

Please Note: The event complies with all COVID-19 regulations including social distancing and patrons must wear masks for entry. 

Cape Town City Ballet is grateful for the support of the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Food Lovers Market, Toby Fine Ballet Fund and the Cape Town City Ballet Endowment Trust.

AUGUST 2021

11 August - Veronica Paeper’s CARMEN at Artscape from 25 Aug - 4 Sept

Cape Town City Ballet proudly presents Veronica Paeper’s CARMEN at Artscape from 25 August until 4 September.

Bookings open at Computicket on 16 August and seating in the Artscape Opera House will be strictly limited to 50 seats due to social distancing and government regulations. All COVID-19 regulations will be in place including social distancing and wearing masks for entry.

Set to Georges Bizet’s dramatic, famous score, CARMEN will be performed to a recording by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. Inspired by Prosper Mérimée’s romantic novel of 1845, CARMEN is the ultimate tale of love, passion, betrayal and revenge.

Carmen is a fiery gypsy girl who mesmerises and seduces a young soldier, Don Jose. He gives up everything for her, abandoning his childhood sweetheart and deserting his military duties. However, Carmen’s free spirit will not be tamed and her unfaithfulness to him leads to tragic results.

Completing the stellar creative team for the production, Design is by Peter Cazalet with Lighting Design by Wilhelm Disbergen.

I was truly delighted when Debbie Turner invited me to re-produce Carmen, a ballet I consider one of my better efforts,” says Veronica Paeper. “Bringing this wonderfully wild, passionate and headstrong gypsy back to life has been a real challenge in these difficult times, a challenge I have relished. Together with the dedicated dancers and all the staff of CTCB – artistic, admin and stage – I believe we have created a wonderful evening of entertainment. I certainly have enjoyed producing the Ballet.”

Carmen is a perennial favourite with its powerful story of love, passion, revenge and power, performed to Bizet’s sweeping score,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.

We are delighted to be able to present this production by one of South Africa’s iconic women and ballet legends, Veronica Paeper, in Woman’s Month. Veronica is a former Artistic Director of both Capab and Cape Town City Ballet and it is a privilege for all of us at the Company to be able to appropriately restore her work and once again bring together the creative powerhouses and artistic partnership of Veronica with designer Peter Cazalet, coupled with the masterful lighting design of Wilhelm Disbergen. 

CARMEN is one of more than 40 ballets, among them 16 full-length works, that have been choreographed by Paeper, who began her creative portfolio in 1972. She choreographed her first production of CARMEN in 1987 for Capab. Her production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE STORY OF SCROOGE for Cape Town City Ballet played to sold out houses and critical acclaim in December 2019, and will be restaged in December.

Paeper received her ballet training under the tutelage of Dulcie Howes at the UCT Ballet School, where she also studied with David Poole, Pamela Chrimes and Frank Staff. Staff, whom she married in 1966, and from whom she drew and continues to draw great inspiration, was to have a profound influence on her work as a choreographer.

During her performing career, Paeper rose to become a principal dancer with three South African companies: Capab Ballet, Pact Ballet and Pacofs Ballet.

Paeper held the position of Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of Capab from 1990, and Cape Town City Ballet from 1997 until 2005.  She led the company on its first international tour of a South African ballet company in 1994.

Paeper’s first work, created for Capab Ballet in the early 1970s, was John the Baptist, a dramatic one-act ballet set to music by Ernest Bloch. It featured scenery and costumes designed by Peter Cazalet, an innovative, witty artist who would remain Paeper’s most frequent artistic collaborator for the next 25 years.

Established as the Nico Malan Theatre in 1971, the Artscape building this year marks its 50th anniversary in existence. CARMEN is presented as part of Artscape’s celebrations for National Woman’s Day, which run throughout August and include the 15th annual Women’s Humanity Arts Festival.

The age recommendation for CARMEN is PG 10yrs.

CARMEN  will be presented on 25, 26, 27, 28 August and on 1, 2, 3 and 4 September at 18h30.There will be matinees on Saturday 28 August and Saturday 4 September at 14h00.

Tickets cost from R300 to R350.  Bookings can be made from 16 August at Artscape Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket.  

Please Note: The event complies with all COVID-19 regulations including social distancing and patrons must wear masks for entry.

Cape Town City Ballet is grateful for the support of the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Food Lovers Market and Toby Fine Ballet Fund.

APRIL 2021

21 April - Mthuthuzeli November's Olivier Award-winning Ignoma

Cape Town City Ballet proudly presents the South African premiere of Mthuthuzeli November’s Olivier Award-winning INGOMA as part of its Autumn Season from 19 May at Artscape.

The performances in the Artscape Opera House will be strictly limited to 250 seats due to social distancing.

Commissioned by Cassa Pancho for Ballet Black in London, and choreographed by South African born November, INGOMA collected prestigious awards including the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production as well as Best Dance Production at the Black British Theatre Awards following its premiere in 2019 at the Barbican Theatre and run at the Lindbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House.

In juxtaposition to this powerful, visceral work, audiences will be able to enjoy the pastoral fantasy of LES SYLPHIDES. Sylphs of imaginary spirits dance in the moonlight with the “poet” to the exquisite composition of Frederic Chopin.

This quintessential romantic reverie with choreography by Mikhail Fokine will be staged by British ballet luminary Lynn Wallis, who was Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance for twenty two years and who has worked with companies such as the National Ballet of Canada and English National Ballet. In 2015 Wallis was awarded an OBE for services to dance.

Audiences can enjoy a second programme of breath-taking classical and neo-classical ballet with the return of CAPE TOWN CITY BALLET – BACK ON STAGE following sold out houses in Cape Town and Durban.

The double bill features George Balanchine’s SERENADE, performed to music by Tchaikovsky and staged by Rebecca Metzger for The George Balanchine Foundation.

It is accompanied by MOON BEHIND THE CLOUDS, a suite of works made during the time of Covid-19, by leading South African choreographers Veronica Paeper, Kirsten Isenberg, Yaseen Manuel, Lindy Raizenberg and Marlin Zoutman. The lyrical dancing and moving imagery is laced together through the timeless text of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, narrated by acclaimed performer Marcel Meyer. Nathalie Vijver is the Dramaturg for the work.

Lighting Design for the Autumn Season is by Wilhelm Disbergen.

Established as the Nico Malan Theatre in 1971, the Artscape building marks its 50th anniversary in existence..

“We will be marking two momentous occasions with the opening of our Autumn Season at Artscape,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.

“On 19 May 1971, the venue opened with a performance by CAPAB, the ballet company of the time. It is fitting that we use this opportunity to recognise not only how far we have come and the changes that have taken place, but also the next fifty years of ballet on the Artscape stage, and how dance can lead the way in championing change and extending boundaries,” says Turner.

“We are honoured to be presenting INGOMA, which has been extended to accommodate the Company of Cape Town City Ballet. With the staging of this
ground-breaking work, we proudly celebrate the work of Mthuthuzeli in his home country.”

INGOMA is a compelling fusion of ballet, African dance and song, engaging in a universal theme about being human and being true to yourself. Inspired by the artwork of Gerard Sekoto, most particularly the Song of the Pick and his Blue Head, it explores the milestone Witwatersrand miners’ strike of 1946, imagining the struggles of black miners and their loved ones as thousands of miners bravely embarked on strike action for better wages.

“a powerful piece….November naturally blends ballet, on pointe, with earthier African idiom. Four stars” The Guardian

South African Peter Johnson composed the music for the production, marking his third collaboration with November after Cape Dance Company’s Visceral and Sun. Asisipho Malunga completes the creative team as dramaturge and vocalist.

INGOMA / LES SYLPHIDES will be presented on 19, 22, 27,28, May and 3, 4 and 5 June at 19h30 with matinees on 22 and 29 May at 15h00.

CAPE TOWN CITY BALLET – BACK ON STAGE will be presented on 26 and 29 May and 2 June at 19h30 with a matinee on 5 June at 15h00.

Tickets cost R300 each for the evening performances and R250 each for the matinee.

Bookings can be made at Artscape Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket.

Please Note: The event complies with all COVID-19 regulations including social distancing and patrons must wear masks for entry.

Cape Town City Ballet is grateful for the support of the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Food Lovers Market and Toby Fine Ballet Fund.

*Invest in the work of Cape Town City Ballet! For information about how to donate to their THUNDAFUND campaign, email thundafund@capetowncityballet.org.za or visit thundafund.com/project/6716626611211597

OCTOBER 2020

8 October - Cape Town Opera, Camerata Tinta Barocca, Cape Town City Ballet Collab
Bookings open! Book here: tickets.computicket.com

This collaboration between Cape Town Opera, Camerata Tinta Barocca and Cape Town City Ballet provides an emotional and artistic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, conceptualized specifically for filming and digital dissemination.

The text reflects on the suffering of Mary at the Crucifixion, and Pergolesi’s compact setting provides the jumping-off point for our reflection on grief caused by this pandemic, and social and spatial alienation arriving in its wake. A baroque orchestra and two opera singers are joined by six dancers, creating a choreographed staging within the realities of social and physical distancing.

6 October - I do wander everywhere film
In celebration of Garden Day on the 11 October, the dancers of Cape Town City Ballet bring imagination to life in the beautiful setting of The Norval Foundation’s Sculpture garden with wearable paintings by Gabrielle Kruger, courtesy of SMAC.

View this short, mythical film for free on artsfundi.com and support other artistic collaborations on the site. View trailer below:

2 October - Journeys Dance Film
CAPE TOWN CITY BALLET PRESENTS “JOURNEYS” by Kristin Wilson

“Journeys” is part of a series of concerts called “Entertainment in Containment 20/20”, presented by Biblioteek Productions. These mini-productions are 20 minutes each and are being rolled out once a week for twenty weeks.

This project is a collaboration between freelance classical musicians and dancers from Cape Town City Ballet with guest artists from New World Dance Theatre. Apart from music and dance, we have experimented with using projections, shadows and integrating our art into nature.

“Catherine Stephenson (flute), Albert Combrink (piano) and Graham Du Plessis (cello) provide a sound track for dancers from Cape Town City Ballet, with choreography by Kristin Wilson as part of the City of Cape Towns Choreolab initiative.

Be transported along babbling brooks with an arrangement of Smetana’s Moldau, fly across eddies of snow with The Snowman, be seduced by the wiles of a fiery women with music from Bizet’s opera Carmen, and experience the passion of Argentinian Tango with Piazzolla’s Oblivion and Libertango.”

For more information on our project, please visit our Facebook Event page (Facebook Event: Journeys), where you will find information on the performers and see some “behind the scenes” footage.

quicket.co.za/2020-entertainment-in-containment-presents-journeys
Tickets for “Journeys” are R80 and can be bought through Quicket. The e-ticket will be usable from the launch on Friday 2 October at 20h00 (GMT+2) until Thursday 8 October at 23h00 (GMT+2)

View trailor below:

SEPTEMBER 2020

30 September - Cape Town City Ballet forced to retrench staff due to Covid-19

As a result of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the arts and culture sectors, Cape Town City Ballet has been forced to retrench some of its dancers.

Gatherings of more than 50 people have been prohibited from level 5 to level 2 which has had dire consequences for the arts industry. All performances at Artscape have been cancelled until 2021.

“Our entire planned programme for 2020 has been cancelled, having a significant financial impact on the organisation,” says Suzette Raymond, Chairperson of the Board of Cape Town City Ballet.

“We have managed to sustain the full company for five months of lockdown, without our usual box office income stream. We have explored various alternatives to create additional income streams. We have engaged with employees and taken into consideration their suggestions to the best of our capabilities. We have implemented across the board pay cuts, from our admin staff, to our dancers.”

“Unfortunately, like many companies nationally and internationally, we were left with no other option than to make the difficult decision to enter into a comprehensive consultative process to retrench some of our dancers. The dancers are immensely talented artists and we hope to be able to welcome them back at some point in the future. These are incredibly challenging times for arts and culture companies around the world,” says Raymond.

“We urge anyone who is in a position to do so, to invest in the future of Cape Town City Ballet. There are a number of ways to do this and every amount, no matter how small, makes a difference. Sign up to become a VIP Friend, make a once-off or recurring donation, invest in our long-term endowment fund, make a bequest or nominate Cape Town City Ballet as a beneficiary on your My School card.”

For information about how to invest in Cape Town City Ballet contact suzetteraymond@yahoo.com

AUGUST 2020

14 August - Captivating new short dance film celebrates work of William Kentridge

In a world first, a captivating new short dance film created by Cape Town City Ballet and Norval Foundation honours the work of internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge.

In an imaginative marrying of ballet and sculpture, the online film is inspired by and set against a stage of Kentridge’s Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture exhibition.  Presented by Norval Foundation, Why Should I Hesitate: Sculpture was the first exhibition internationally to address Kentridge’s output as a sculptor, with a unique focus on this aspect of his practice.  The exhibition featured both new and historical artworks and brought the origins of these works, in props from his operas and images from his animations, stepping off the stage and out of the screen, confronting visitors directly at ground level.

Dancers from CTCB’s Choreolab programme each selected an artwork from the exhibition, which included iconic Kentridge works such as World On It’s Hind Legs and Singer Trio.  Informed by the narrative and lines of the work, the dancers created a short dance piece around it for inclusion in the film. The score was composed by Cape Town based Peter Johnson, who drew inspiration from the sculptures and the dancers’ movements as ‘live sculptures’. 

Both Cape Town City Ballet and Norval Foundation temporarily closed in March 2020 as a result of operating restrictions due to Covid-19. Under level 3 regulations, arts institutions can record content  without audiences and under strict safety conditions for digital streaming. Norval Foundation’s popular Skotnes Restaurant also recently re-opened with access to their Sculpture Garden.

“We are proud to be associated with Norval Foundation and especially honoured to mark our first partnership with them celebrating the work of internationally acclaimed artist William Kentridge,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.

“These have been difficult times for everyone in the arts sector and we build strength and continue to inspire creativity by collaborating with like-minded organisations. The digital space presents exciting different opportunities how we communicate our stories, pushing and exploring creative boundaries, while working towards our objective of taking ballet to as wide an audience as possible,” says Turner.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Cape Town City Ballet on an innovative virtual project that harmonises two powerful art forms – dance and the visual arts. As a young, multidisciplinary institution, we value this dynamic interplay.  Museums worldwide are looking at how dance – which until now has been performed almost exclusively in theatres – can be experienced in a more interactive and experimental museum context. The museum setting allows dance artists to engage with and interpret the artworks in a way that transforms both artwork and dancer, in a synthesis that generates new and exhilarating meanings and possibilities,” says Elana Brundyn, CEO, Norval Foundation. 

“Cape Town City Ballet’s conversation with William Kentridge’s monumental sculptures, in “Why Should  I Hesitate: Sculpture”, is a dramatic, visually arresting presentation of movement through negative space, evoking Kentridge’s theatrical training at the L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.  Now more than ever, creative companies must stand united to find ways in which to celebrate all forms of artistic expression, transition for the times, and above all remain connected with our loyal audiences. We hope this is the first of many such collaborations.”    

CTCB’s Choreolab programme was introduced in 2019 as a platform to incubate, nurture and invest in aspiring South African choreographers from within the Company. The choreographer is supported in creating and staging a work, while developing their choreographic skills by also working with a mentor.  Dancers taking part on this year’s programme are Tamlyn Higgins, Mbulelo Jonas, Kristin Wilson, Kholekile Biyongo, Conrad Nusser, Gabriella Ghiaroni, Gabrielle Fairhead, Mia Labuschagne and Nicolas Laubscher.

“This time is not a question of survival for Cape Town City Ballet –  one of the longest standing ballet companies in the world – but one of growth and development,” says Turner. “We will continue to explore new ways to engage with our audience, until the time we can come together again to experience the magic of a live performance.”

To view the film visit artsfundi.com
Tickets cost R50 and can be purchased at the link.
Join Norval Foundation on You Tube: youtube.com/channel/UC3J7x2rBvUxB6S-2HOAmH2g

Watch the trailer below

JULY 2020

25 July - SABC News - Cape Town City Ballet launches online tutoring to children

The Cape Town City Ballet won’t let the COVID-19 pandemic throw them off balance in their quest to “reach for the stars.” The company has launched a project aimed at giving online tutoring to children from the Zolani Township in Ashton in the Boland. This in honour of former statesman, Nelson Mandela, and in response to a call made by South African born international dancer and choreographer, Mthuthuzeli November.

18 July - Dancers from Cape Town City Ballet pirouette their way into Mandela Day

CAPE TOWN CITY BALLET INVESTS IN YOUNG DANCERS WITH 67 PIROUETTES FOR MANDELA DAY

Dancers from Cape Town City Ballet are pirouetting their way into Mandela Day to help young dancers get access to data and learning opportunities.

CTCB has released a fun short video of the company’s dancers performing 67 pirouettes to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July, and mark the start of their initiative of providing resources to young dancers in Zolani.

The campaign was inspired by the call from London-based dancer and emerging choreographer Mthuthuzeli November to raise funds to create a space for the community in Zolani, where he is from in South Africa, by joining his online M22 Movement Lab classes on a pay-as-you-can basis. In his Instagram post, November said he had received messages that young community members were falling behind with their dance training and school work due to lack of access to a space to dance and reliable internet connection.

CTCB is supporting the call by arranging for 67 gigabytes worth of internet access to members of the Zolani community, to help them access online learning opportunities. The Company members will also be contributing 67 hours of their work time through the remainder of the year, towards investing in the holistic training of the young dancers – including facilitating online dance and movement sessions, as well as sharing insights and practical skills.

“Dance training is more than learning steps and perfecting technique, it is a standard of discipline, an approach to life and work,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet. “Training for young dancers can instil so much, and we’re more aware of this than ever as we see young dancers struggling in these difficult times, without the sense of structure and community that their dance training environments afford them ordinarily. Dance is an inspirational activity – it also forges friendships and support groups, builds confidence, a sense of purpose and community, and assists with skills that can be applied throughout all aspects of life. We are honoured to be supporting the call by Mthuthuzeli, who is an incredible role model with his immense talent and commitment to giving back – exactly the qualities that we are called to embody on Mandela Day, and every day.”

South African born Mthuthuzeli November trained at Dance For All (an outreach programme founded in 1991 under the auspices of then-CAPAB) and the Cape Academy of Performing Arts. He performed professionally nationally and internationally with the Cape Dance Company before traveling to the UK to tour with Ballet Central, Central School of Ballet’s touring company. In 2015, he joined Ballet Black as First Year Apprentice, and was promoted to Junior Artist in 2016 where he created roles in Arthur Pita’s Cristaux and Christopher Hampson’s Storyville. He made his first ballet for Ballet Black, Interrupted in July 2016. November was recently nominated for a prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production for his work Ingoma for Ballet Black. He was due to be in Cape Town this August, to add two of his works to the Cape Town City Ballet repertoire.

To view the Cape Town City Ballet 67 Pirouettes visit:
Facebook: @ctcityballet
Instagram: @CapeTownCityBallet
Twitter: @BalletCape

MAY 2020

29 May - Fiona Gordon has been appointed as General Manager

fiona gordonFiona Gordon has been appointed as General Manager of Cape Town City Ballet.

Fiona is a respected, experienced arts manager, who has worked across a broad range of projects, festivals and cultural agencies, assisting businesses and organistions to ‘make things happen’.

Since 2014, she has been the Managing Director of Creative Fix, developing strategies and providing support to clients in the cultural, creative and entrepreneurial sectors.

Highlights of her career include working with organisations such as the National Arts Festival, the South African pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the South African Cultural Observatory, Hatch Ideas UK, The Arts and Culture Trust, UJ Arts & Culture, the National School of the Arts, Jade Bowers Design & Management and a number of industry-specific conferences.

Fiona studied towards a Bachelor of Music in Dance (UCT), and a Masters in Cultural Policy and Management (Wits). She grew up in the Eastern Cape, the youngest of six children, and has spent her career working from Cape Town and Johannesburg on South African and international projects.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Fiona to the Cape Town City Ballet family,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet. “She is an astute arts manager, who brings with her a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience that will be a great asset to the Company. Fiona has an in-depth understanding of the arts sector, and with the added combination of her administrative wizardry and can-do attitude, she will be a wonderful support in moving us through this time of transition and into the future.”

“Dance, and ballet in particular, has always been my biggest passion. Cape Town is the home of my heart, so to be back in the City working with Cape Town City Ballet is a dream come true. Having worked as the first manager of The Ballet Shop, it also feels like I am coming full-circle!” says Fiona. “I am looking forward to working with this talented group of dancers and dynamic creative team to keep bringing the magic of ballet to as wide an audience as possible.”

16 May - Cape Town City Ballet and Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra
Partners Forever – our dancers and musicians are here… now and when the pandemic is over.

10 May - #dontrushchallenge
CTCB was challenged by our friends at Joburg Ballet to participate in the #𝗱𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘀𝗵𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲

Let laughter feed your soul, and then take a moment to donate to help feed the most vulnerable among us during this devastating pandemic.

APRIL 2020

20 April - Cape Talk - Ballerinas in lockdown

Listen to full interview with Pippa Hudson and CEO, Debbie Turner
omny.fm/afternoons-with-pippa-hudson/ballerinas-in-lockdown

17 April - UCT - An honorary encore for renowned South African ballet master

Renowned South African ballet master, Johaar Mosaval, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town in March 2020.
news.uct.ac.za/honorary-encore-for-renowned-south-african-ballet-master

15 April - Broadway World - Interview with CEO, Debbie Turner

MARCH 2020

18 March - Stage and Screen - Covid-19 updates

Productions & Events related information regarding COVID-19 
stageandscreen.co.za/covid-19-updates

18 March - Litnet - Autumn Season postponed

Cape Town City Ballet’s Autumn Season has been postponed, to be rescheduled at a date to be announced in due course – litnet.co.za/cape-town-city-ballets-autumn-season-postponed

17 March - Weekend Special - Arts Events Cancelled due to Corona Virus

All arts events cancelled due to Coronavirus
weekendspecial.co.za/arts-events-cancelled-due-to-coronavirus

17 March - Broadway World - Autumn Season postponed

The health and well-being of our audiences, dancers and staff remain our number one responsibility – broadwayworld.com/Cape-Town-City-Ballets-Autumn-Season-Postponed

17 March - Artslink - Autumn Season postponed

Cape Town City Ballet’s productions of the new triple bill postponed to a later date
artlink.co.za/news_article

17 March - The Next 48 Hours - Autumn Season postponed

We join members of our industry in being saddened and concerned at the current situation, but are unwaveringly committed to doing all we can to keep everyone safe, reduce the risk of new infections and ‘flatten the curve’ – 48hours.co.za/cape-town-city-ballets-autumn-season

DEAR SPONSORS: WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMITMENT

Your membership funding is invaluable to us in achieving our goals:
To delight anew our loyal supporters To inspire new audiences to love ballet To nurture and grow our young talent

         

Cape Town City Ballet